Pull Up a Chair by the Hearth! The Only Hearthstone Beginners Guide You’ll Ever Need

As an avid Hearthstone player since the Curse of Naxxramas expansion, I’m not what you would call a newbie, but I’m no expert either. Like a lot of players out there, I like to keep it casual. Sure, I’ve competed in local tourneys from time to time, and I do devote some time to playing in ranked, but love for the game is so much important than ranking (although it does feel nice to hit legend!).

While there are plenty of Hearthstone beginners guides around the internet, I find that many of them are either too advanced or too simple for new players to really appreciate the game. Again, I’m no expert, but I feel like I know enough to give newbies a basic, but comprehensive, guide to Hearthstone.

In this Hearthstone Beginners Guide, we’ll discuss what the game is, how it’s played, certain terms and keywords, class overviews, and even some very basic strategies to follow. I hope this gives you that push to make it out of rank 50 and be as engrossed in the game as I am!

On to our comprehensive Hearthstone Beginners Guide for…err…beginners!

But first: What is Hearthstone?

Hearthstone is Blizzard’s free-to-play trading card game for PC, iOS, and Android. It’s based on the Warcraft universe, and while it’s classified as a TCG, there’s not much trading of cards involved. However, you can get new cards by purchasing card packs with in-game gold (which you earn via the completion of daily quests), crafting them with arcane dust, or y’know, use your mom’s credit card to buy extra packs.

When you start a Hearthstone game, you choose one of 9 heroes, each with its own unique deck, minions, spells, weapons, and hero power. The point of the game is to use your cards (and your wits!) to bring the enemy hero’s health all the way down to zero.

How Do You Play?

When you start a Hearthstone game, you’re presented with 3 cards (or 4, depending on who goes first). You can either keep the 3 cards you’re presented, or “mulligan” them for new ones. At the start of the game, each player is given a mana crystal. Every move you make in a game of Hearthstone is determined by the amount of mana crystals you have, from spells cast, minions summoned, and hero power usage.

At every turn, a player draws a card and gains a mana crystal. You can then use up your mana crystals however you wish (ideally it’s with smart plays). Each turn, your mana reserves are replenished, allowing you to perform more actions, like playing multiple cards as a combo, or using a card that provides you with good value-for-mana. Each player can reach a maximum of 10 mana. Weapon cards allow you to equip a weapon that may or may not have an effect. Once a weapon is equipped, your hero is then allowed to attack enemy minions or the enemy hero.

Each player is also allowed to hold a maximum of 10 cards, and any cards you draw after that will be “burned” (i.e, discarded for the duration of the game). Once you run out of cards, you start taking Fatigue damage, which increases exponentially until you lose.

When players put down a minion card, that minion becomes active (in most cases). When a minion is active, it can attack the enemy hero or other minions. Each minion has an attack rating and a health score indicated on the card: attack on the left, health on the right, and their mana cost on the top left corner.

Spells, on the other hand, can be used to target the opponent, enemy minions, friendly minions, or yourself. They perform different functions, with their effect being written down in their text box. Like a minion card, the mana value of a Spell card is written on the top left corner.

Weapon cards allow you to equip a weapon and attack enemies on the board. Like the minion card, it has its mana value in the top left corner. In lieu of attack/health values of minion cards, weapon cards have damage and durability values. Damage is, well, pretty self-explanatory, while durability is amount of times you can use the weapon before it disappears.

Each player is required to build a deck made up of 30 cards, although you’re not limited to just that 30 once the game starts, as some spell cards allow you to generate more cards either for you or your opponent (ex: Rogue’s Academic Espionage and Warrior’s Wrench Caliber). Each player is only allowed 2 copies of the same card. However, you can copy a specific card in-game if you have a spell or minion ability that does so.

If you have more than 2 copies of the same card, you can get rid of the extra by “disenchanting” them. When you disenchant cards, you get arcane dust. Arcane dust is needed to craft new cards. Each card has a rarity value that is indicated by a colored gemstone in the middle of the card. Each color has a specific rarity value: white for common, blue for rare, purple for epic, orange for legendary.

 

“Golden” Cards feature an animated photo in place of the static one, as well as gold trims on the side. They do absolutely nothing extra, although they look really cool and can may or may not cause your opponent to be intimidated. Golden cards can be obtained either by opening a ridiculous amount of card packs and hoping you get one, or just craft them with arcane dust.

So that’s the basic breakdown of how the game works. Now let’s move on to something that will heavily affect your gameplay: terminology.

Hearthstone users use a lot of terms that might be out of place for people who have just started playing a TCG. However, Yu Gi Oh and Magic: The Gathering players might be familiar with some of the words Hearthstone uses.

Knowing these terms isn’t just to help you integrate yourself into the Hearthstone community; it also helps you appreciate and understand game mechanics, not to mention provide you insight into specific strategies.

Terminology

We’ll try to cover as many terms as we can, from spells and effects, minions and abilities, to strategies and slang. This list is not exhaustive, but it does cover the most basic ones.

Aggro

A short version of the word aggression. Aggro is a word that’s generally used to describe a play style, or, alternatively, decks that are geared towards that kind of gear style. Aggro decks and plays are generally centered towards dealing as much damage to the enemy hero as quickly and as often as possible.

AOE

Acronym for Area of Effect. This is a general game term and refers to either a minion, spell, or ability that affects an entire side of the game board (or, in some cases, both sides of the board). This effect can either be helpful to your minions (like Shaman’s Healing Wave), destructive to your opponent’s minions (like Mage’s Blizzard), or both.

Bounce

Spells, minions, or abilities that return a minion to their owners hand.

Burn

Used to describe cards that have been discarded from your deck. As mentioned earlier, each player can only hold 10 cards. If your player draws more cards after that, the drawn cards are destroyed. The term comes from the animation process, where it shows the card burning into ashes. Certain cards can also burn cards without the need for a full hand, like Warlock’s Gnomeferatu.

Combo

This can refer to two things: the first are combo decks, which are powerful decks that rely on cards positively interacting with each other. The other refers to a specific ability of Rogue cards. Combo cards require another card to be played before it to activate a specific effect.

Control

Much like aggro, control refers to both a play style and a deck set. Unlike aggro, control decks/plays utilize AOE cards, spells, and friendly minions to control the board. Once the player has control of the board, they can then finish the game with big spells that deal massive damage, or by filling up the board with high attack minions.

A deck is labeled Control if it seeks to hold the board by using defensive minions (taunts) and utilizing AOE and Spell cards to destroy minions. It then finishes off the opponent with late game minions and threats.

Direct Damage

Cards that deal pure damage to a minion or the enemy hero. Direct damage cards can either deal this damage with or without a negative effect on the player casting it (contrast Mage’s Frostbold with Warlock’s Soulfire).

Face

Every character class in Hearthstone is represented by a hero. In-game, this hero is represented as a “face” or portrait at the bottom of the screen. This term is usually used when describing plays or actions that directly affect the enemy hero, e.g. attack the face, hit the face, tank the face, etc.

Initiative

Simply put, “initiative” refers to a player who gets to attack the enemy board first. Usually, minions are unable to attack enemy minions or heroes in the turn they are summoned (this is referred to as summoning sickness, a common term in TCG’s), unless they have a specific ability like Charge or Rush. Thus, initiative usually rests on the player who puts a minion down first.

Ladder

In ranked play mode, players move up a rank after a certain amount of wins. This is referred to as “climbing the ladder”. Technically, there’s really only one ladder, but players divide it into three sub-categories: ranks 50-25 (beginners ladder), 25-1 (normal ladder), and Legend. Every win in ranked play gets you a star, with each rank requiring a certain amount of stars to clear. Losing a match also loses you a star. Lose enough stars and you go down the ladder. However, consecutive wins gives you extra stars, thus making it easier to climb the ladder.

Once a player reaches legend, they no longer compete for stars. Instead, climbing the legend ladder gives you a number, which references your position in the Legend ladder. For example, if there 2,000 players in the legend ladder and you just hit legend, then your legend number will be 2000. Win a game and you climb up a spot. Lose, and you go down.

Meta

This describes the current popular decks that people are using in ranked play. Learning about the meta gives player an advantage when climbing the ladder because it allows them to craft decks that can either counter the current meta, or run a meta-friendly deck. For example, with the release of the Rise of Shadows expansion, the popular meta featured the Warrior Class with a bomb deck (that is, decks that have cards that would shuffle a bomb card to their opponent’s deck which would deal damage to their opponent when the card is drawn). This could be theoretically countered with either aggro decks (see above), or hand decks (that is, decks that require the player to hold the maximum amount of cards possible).

 

Midrange

This term refers to a hybrid style of aggro-control decks that usually have its main attack minions in the 4 mana to 8 mana range (i.e, the “middle” of the mana value spectrum). Midrange decks are a great counter to aggro decks, stopping any lethal damage by turn 4, but is aggressive enough to counter any heavy control decks.

Mill (or, alternatively, card milling)

A term that originated from a Magic: The Gathering card called Millstone, milling is a strategy in Hearthstone wherein you force players to “mill” their deck, making them overdraw and thus burning their cards. Mill decks can be hard to pull off, but when you do, the enemy player will start running out of useful cards and can (and often do) eventually lose due to Fatigue damage.

Mulligan

This refers to sending a card back into your deck at the start of a match. At the beginning of a Hearthstone game, players are shown 3 cards (4 cards if you’re going second). Players can either keep all 3 (or 4), or reshuffle one (or all) back to your deck.

Nerf

A general video game term that refers to lowering the power of cards that are deemed OP (overpowered).

Netdeck

This refers to the act of copying deck lists that have been posted on websites instead of creating one of your own. Sometimes used as an insult but, personally, I have no problem with people netdecking, so long as they are able to pilot those decks efficiently. It’s the height of gatekeeping and toxic nerd propaganda to use “netdeck” as an insult.

OTK

Short for One Turn Kill, this refers to strategies that revolve around creating a combo of cards that can be played in a single turn that will result in an instant win. This can be done either by casting a combination of direct damage spells, or buffing a minion with initiative, or a combination of both.

OP

Stands for overpowered, these are cards that have been deemed way too strong, thus making its use unfair (looking at you, pre-nerf Mana Wyrm).

Ping

This can refer to one of two things: ping as in the reaction time of your internet connection, or ping as in dealing 1 damage to a minion using the Mage hero power.

Ramp
This refers to the strategy of increasing your mana pool (either temporarily or permanently) using specific cards or abilities. This is commonly associated with the Druid class, which have a couple of cards dedicated to providing your character with extra mana. However, ramp effects can also be applied to cards that lower the mana cost of another card, such as Warlock’s Summoning Portal or Mechwarper.

RNG

This stands for Random Number Generator, a computer programming term that refers to a computer’s power to generate numbers randomly. In Hearthstone, this is used to describe the random element prevailing in certain cards. Basically, a big part of Hearthstone is dependent on randomness: the arrangement of cards in each deck, random card draws, and any spell or minion with the word “random” in its effect. In even more basic terms, RNG refers to luck. (related: RNGesus is the semi-mythical anthropomorphic representation of the Random Number Generator. You must pray to RNGesus whenever you need luck in your game)

Roping

This refers to the act of extending your turn for as long as possible. Each player’s turn lasts a total of 75 seconds (1 minute and 15 seconds). At the 55 second mark (or, 20 seconds before your turn ends), a burning rope fuse appears to indicate how much time is left, hence the term roping. Whether or not this is bad etiquette depends on your intention: many professional players will inadvertently rope their turn because they’re thinking of their next move. However, some players in casual use this as a way to frustrate their opponent, with some going to the extent of roping just so the other player concedes.

Standard

In Hearthstone, there are two play formats available: standard and wild. The standard format refers to the decks, rules, and expansions that were introduced in the current year and the year before that. Deck sets, rules, or expansions that were released prior to this specific time cannot be played in Standard (with the notable exemption of Basic and Classic cards which are evergreen).

Tempo

You’ll probably encounter this word the most often when it comes to discussing strategies in Hearthstone, and its best you understand what it is now. In its most basic sense, tempo means being a step ahead of your opponent in terms of mana value. For example, if your opponent casts a 6-cost spell (e.g. Blizzard) and you counter it with a 3-cost spell (e.g. Counterspell), then you’ve gained a 3-mana tempo over your opponent. It’s not just about having more mana per se; it’s about being able to utilize your mana more efficiently than your opponent.

The best class to show tempo would be Rogue. The Rogue class has, in my opinion, THE ultimate tempo card: Backstab. At 0-cost but 2 damage, Backstab allows Rogue players to remove enemy minions and have enough mana to develop their board. This does wonder for your early game. Of course, Rogue isn’t the only class that can have tempo, any class can potentially be played with a tempo deck that prioritizes efficient mana casting and strategy over just using the biggest minion/spell you have on hand.

Token

This refers to cards that are generated by other cards. Tokens are not collectible and are not part of your permanent collection. Token Druids run decks that revolve around creating as many small, underpowered, but cheap tokens as possible so that they can buff them into high damage minions later on.

Top Deck

To “top deck” is to draw a card from your deck that is the perfect card for the situation you need. Of course, people have been using this to excuse poor plays (i.e, “I would have won if my opponent didn’t top deck Eviscerate!”), but a TRUE top deck is when you draw a card that saves you from a hopeless situation so you can keep fighting (i.e, drawing Healing Wave when you’re at 1 health).

Value

This refers to getting more out of a particular card, like when you use Backstab (costs you 0 mana) to remove Sorcerer’s Apprentice (cost opponent 2 mana).

Wild

The other format aside from Standard. Whereas Standard only includes cards, rules, and decks from the last 2 years, Wild has decks, rules, and cards from ALL sets, all the way back to the very first expansion (Goblins vs. Gnomes).

Keywords

Every card in Hearthstone contains a keyword, which is the word that summarizes what that card can do. Keywords are written in bold in the card description. I’ve listed the most common ones below using official in-game definitions.

Adapt:

Choose one of three bonuses.

Battlecry:

Does something when you play it from your hand.

Cast When Drawn:

The spell card is automatically cast for no mana when drawn from your deck, and the next card in the deck is then drawn. Only found on a few Uncollectible spells.

Charge:

Can attack immediately.

Choose One:

When you play a card with a Choose One ability, you may choose which ability to use. This is currently limited to the Druid class.

Combo:

A bonus if you already played a card this turn. Combo is currently limited to the Rogue class.

Counter:

A card that is Countered has no effect. Currently the only card that has this keyword is Counterspell.

Deathrattle:

Does something when it dies.

Discover:

Choose one of three cards to add to your hand.

Divine Shield:

The first time a minion with divine shield takes damage, ignore it.

Echo:

Adds another copy of the card to your hand after it’s played that disappears at the end of your turn.

Enrage:

While damaged, this minion has a new power.

Freeze;

Frozen characters lose their next attack.

Immune:

Immune characters can’t be damaged.

Inspire:

Does something after you use your Hero Power.

Jade Golem:

Your first Jade Golem is 1/1. Each future one has +1/+1.

Lifesteal

Lifesteal is a type of triggered effect, which causes damage dealt by the card to also restore Health to the controlling hero. It is identified by a broken purple heart that appears at the bottom of the minion’s portrait.

Magnetic:

Placing a Magnetic minion to the left of a Mech merges the two cards together, combining their stats and effects.

Mega-Windfury:

Can attack four times a turn. Currently, only two cards have this keyword: V-07-TR-0N, which is a Token of Mimiron’s Head, and Whirlwind Tempest, which gives your Windfury minions Mega-Windfury.

Overload:

You have X less mana next turn. The X is represented by the number on the card. Overload is currently limited to the Shaman class.

Overkill:

A bonus is rewarded when dealing more damage than needed to kill its target.

Poisonous:

Destroy any minion damaged by this.

Quest:

Starts in your hand. Complete for a reward. It more accurately starts in your mulligan, and you can pitch it back into your deck if you choose.

Recruit:

Summons a random minion from the player’s deck.

Rush:

Enables the minion to attack enemy minions on the same turn that it is summoned.

Secret:

Hidden until a specific action occurs on your opponent’s turn. Currently only three classes have Secrets: Hunter, Mage, and Paladin.

Silence:

Removes all card text, enchantments, and abilities from the target minion, except for auras provided by external cards in play. Silence does not prevent enchantments and abilities from being applied to said minion afterwards, however.

Spell Damage:

Your spell cards deal 1 extra damage. This isn’t always the case, certain cards can increase the damage further like Malygos.

Start of Game:

A type of triggered effect that activates at the start of the game. Currently, only 3 cards have this keyword: Prince Malchezaar, Baku the Mooneater, and Genn Greymane.

Stealth:

Can’t be attacked or targeted until it deals damage. Flare is currently the only card that can remove Stealth.

Taunt:

Enemies must attack minions that have Taunt.

Twinspell:

Casting the spell puts another copy into your hand, but without the Twinspell ability.

Windfury:

Can attack twice each turn.

Class Overview

Now that you’re familiar with the terminologies and the keywords, it’s time to take a quick overview of each class. Each class has its own unique hero, hero power, minions, and spells. While some might argue about which class is the best, I like to think that a real test of skill is being able to choose any class and win consistently. None the less, each class has its own pros and cons, as well as strategies and decks.

Druid

As the Guardians of Nature, and as one of the oldest races in all of Azeroth, Druids are bound by the natural forces surrounding them, using its power to either reign destruction on their enemies, or to heal allies. They can shape-shift, taking on many forms that they use to defend themselves and their friends, or to attack enemies. Some say that certain Druids can even take flight, shape-shifting into winged creatures to fly around the world.

 

In Hearthstone, the Druid class is arguably one of the most versatile classes in the entire game, capable of playing offensive strategies with damaging spells and big-damage minions, control games with multiple minions and buffs, or take on a defensive stance and heal minions or provide them taunt.

Hunter

Experts in navigating and surviving the harsh conditions of the land, Hunters stalk their prey through glen and vale, plain and forest, jungle and valley. But they’re not just merciless killers: they are connected to nature and everything they do is to maintain the balance of life and death. In fact, some Hunters end up befriending their supposed prey, turning them into loyal life companions who journey with them in every hunt.

Hunters are one of the more specialized classes in Hearthstone. What they lack in area-of-effect abilities, they more than make up for in hard removal spells, zoo decks, minions that gain stats over time, and constant damage from their hero power.

Mage

Masters of the Arcane, Mages wield magic unlike any other, concentrating energy into devastating fireballs, or stopping their enemies in their tracks with explosions of ice. Naturally curious and brave, Mages are not afraid to test the limits of their spell-casting abilities, even creating new life from elementals.

Arguably one of the easiest classes to start with, the Mage class specializes in offense and utility, using destructive spells to take out opponents, and defensive cards/minions to ensure their survival. While they lack abilities to generate armor or heal themselves, they can stop minions dead in their tracks while they wait for the perfect card draw. Don’t make the mistake of taking a Mage lightly; their ability to cast high-damage spells gets better as the game progresses. One wrong move and you might be staring down the barrel of a well-timed pyroblast to the face.

Paladin

Soldiers of the Holy Light, the Paladins combine the healing aspect of Priests with the fighting abilities of Warriors. Paladins use their Holy magic offensively, buffing their allies while simultaneously weakening their enemies. Even if they’re overwhelmed, the Paladin stands firm, knowing full well that his fellow Paladins will back him up at the hour of his need.

The Paladin class in Hearthstone has three styles of play: summoning as many Silver Knights as they can and buffing them while equipping various weapons and charging straight on to the enemy, playing midrange minions and carefully controlling the board while reviving fallen allies, or using protective spells to shield minions from damage. While they do have the ability to heal both themselves and their minions, I find the Paladin class to truly shine as a facetank/control expert.

Priest

Wielders of the Holy Light, Priests excel in healing their allies and inspiring them to keep fighting. Besides ensuring their minion’s survival, Priests can also defend them with various spells that raise their health, encapsulate them in protective shields, and even save them from demise. But not all Priests are altruistic; some Priests venture into the dark arts and have figured out ways to deal death to their enemies, silence opponents, and even resurrect the dead.

With healing as their main hero power, I can’t blame you for thinking that the Priest class in Hearthstone is a purely defensive and/or supportive class, but you’d be wrong: with both holy magic and shadow magic in their arsenal, the right Priest deck can deal direct damage using their healing powers, or even hard removals. Of course, healing is still the main perk of the Priest class, but just be aware of how dangerous it can be to encounter a Priest who has delved deep into the Shadows…

Rogue

Assassins, thieves, shady characters, these are some of the words used to describe Rogues. Notorious throughout Azeroth as cutthroat and violent, Rogues live up to their dark reputation with their quick hands that wield daggers at frightening speed, darting in and out of combat and dealing damage before the enemy has even noticed. For the Rogue, the best offense is the one the opponent doesn’t see.

The Rogue class is one of the best Hearthstone classes to use if you’re going for combos, tempos, and quick matches. They’re cards are built to deal small amounts of consistent damage at low cost (or no cost at all), as well as some hard removals. They can also buff their weapons with either extra damage or poison, ensuring that the enemy is neutralized long before they can do any lasting damage. One drawback, though: because of the low-cost of cards, you might be tempted to use up your entire hand in a single turn. Try to avoid this as you might find yourself in a situation where you face an enemy board with an empty hand.

Shaman

Mystics with a deep connection to the Elements, the Shaman wields the power of earth, air, fire, and water. The Shaman brings order to the chaos of the Elemental powers, giving them balance and using their gifts in battle. To channel their energies, the Shaman makes use of powerful totems, tiny statues that provide their spells with an extra kick, heal allies, or even provide minions with extra damage.

The Shaman class excels as a hybrid class, wielding powerful direct damage spells, cheap minions, and even healing abilities. But the Shaman’s power has its limits: some of the most useful Shaman cards have the Overload keyword, which limits your mana pool by a certain amount, depending on the spell or minion previously cast. Still, even with this limitation, a Shaman player who knows what they’re doing can easily dominate the board, inhibiting their opponents from building a board while ensuring their side is filled to the brim with powerful minions.

Warlock

Much like their Mage counterparts, Warlocks are also masters of magic. Unlike Mages, however, most Warlocks have been corrupted by Fel energy, with their magic focused on shadow, fire, and demonic summoning. Warlocks control their opponents with curses, direct magic, and corruption. Powerful and merciless, Warlocks will not hesitate to sacrifice their weaker allies in order to buff up their more powerful minions, but all that comes at a price.

The Warlock class has the distinction of being the only class with the Discard keyword in their deck. Discard cards will give players access to powerful abilities, like gaining extra mana, summoning a powerful minion, dealing heavy damage, or even removing an enemy minion altogether. However, this means sacrificing a card (or a number of them) from your hand. Powerful as they are, Warlocks who overstretch the power of their Discard cards can soon find themselves with an empty hand and taking Fatigue.

Warrior

Brave, strong, and fierce in combat, the Orcish Warriors are feared throughout Azeroth. However, their ferocity is matched by their sense of honor, so while the Horde and the Alliance are locked in constant battle, both sides respect the other. Warriors are melee users, and are masters of all types of weaponry, be it two-handed axes, swords, whips, even knives. But they’re not just about offense; the Warrior knows that defense is just as important, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find a Warrior that isn’t armored up to the nines.

This is what makes the Warrior class in Hearthstone one of the most formidable, their ability to generate armor. Most of their deck sets, minions, and spells are all about dealing as much damage as possible. The Warrior class utilizes fast-moving, big-hitting minions by taking advantage of the Rush, Charge, and Enrage keywords. When all else fails, you can pick up a weapon instead and deal damage directly. Don’t worry about taking too much damage: with all the armor-generating powers of the Warrior class, you can go ahead and bash whatever enemy you see on the board.

Basic Strategies

Now that we’ve gone through the gameplay basics, class overviews, and a quick rundown of the terminologies and keywords you’ll be using, it’s time to look at basic strategies to help you get started.

Tip 1: Control the Board

Control strategies are great for beginners, as it allows you to learn some of the basic fundamentals of the game, like board control, order of play, and most importantly, patience.

Effective board control isn’t just about killing off all enemy minions, although that is the goal. Rather, proper board control is about clearing the enemy board with the least amount of mana/least amount of minion trading possible. Sure, you could clear his 2/4 minion with your 4 damage spell, but consider that your enemy spent 3 mana while you’ll be spending 4. You could equip a 2 damage weapon and use two 1/1’s for 3 mana total, but that means you’ll be taking 2 damage to your face. Either way could work.

At its heart, board control is also about tempo and building your own board. Ideally, your board should be filled with minions that can’t easily be killed by either AOE spells or hard removal cards. Getting to that state, however, takes time, sacrificing certain minions, or even taking damage. However, prioritizing board control over direct damage to the enemy should be something every Hearthstone beginner should master before climbing the ladder or competing.

Tip 2: Learn How to Trade

It might be tempting to use every spell you have on hand to remove enemy minions, but this might not be the most efficient move to make. Instead, learn how to trade minions effectively.

What does ‘trading minions’ mean? It means using your minions to either damage or kill enemy minions. Ideally, your minion survives a trade and the enemy turn succeeding the trade. Of course, this isn’t always the case, but again, it’s the kind of situation you’re looking for.

When trading, always consider how much damage your minion gives and how much damage the enemy minion can take. Trading your 5/3 to get rid of an enemy 3/2 will work, but it’s a highly inefficient use of your resources. Instead, consider going to face with your 5/3, letting your enemy remove your minion with his, and then rebuilding your board after.

At that point, he’s spent double to remove your minion and casting another minion, while you’ve spent the same amount to both counter his succeeding minion and dealing direct damage to his face. In that scenario, you’ve already gained massive tempo.

Alternatively, you can also use either your hero power (if applicable), or a spell to try and remove the enemy 3/2. This ensures your own minion’s survival, direct damage to enemy face, and assuring that your own hero doesn’t take damage.

Maximize Your Mana Usage

Mana is the most valuable resource in a Hearthstone game, and the player who learns how to maximize their mana usage effectively will have a distinct advantage over players who don’t. Remember: unused mana does absolutely nothing for you next turn.

While you don’t necessarily have to use up all of your mana just for the sake of it, it’s always best to use up as much of it for better plays. For example, if you’re at 6 mana and your opponent has a 4/4 minion that you can remove with a 4 mana spell, this leaves you with an excess of 2 mana. In this situation, you can either use your hero power (if applicable), summon a 2-cost minion, or cast a 2-cost spell that will either heal your hero, buff up an existing minion, or deal extra damage to either the opponent or his minions.

Casual Keeps You Sharp, Wild is Where it Gets Crazy

If you want to get serious and do some actual laddering, then Ranked Play is where you want to be. However, I’ve found that spending time in Casual is a great way to keep your wits sharp and your reactions quick. This is because losing in Casual doesn’t really have consequences (other than frustration), so many players use it as a place to experiment with new decks or play styles.

But if you really want to have fun, I suggest playing in Wild. While it might not be the best place for beginners, Wild is, for me, the most fun play mode in all of Hearthstone. As mentioned earlier, Wild mode contains ALL cards from ALL expansions. That’s more than 2,000 cards in action! But take note: wild is exactly what its name suggests: with that many cards and that many keywords, synergies, and play styles, beginners might find themselves overwhelmed, especially if they have a basic deck to play with. I suggest building up your decks and experience before venturing into Wild mode, but it’s definitely something to keep in your radar.

Daily Quests and Tavern Brawl

Outside of your credit card, in-game Gold is the way to buy additional packs. Each pack contains 5 cards, with 1 guaranteed rare card or better. You can earn 10 gold for every three wins in any game mode except Solo Adventures, but you can earn more gold through daily quests.

Daily Quests provide you with a set amount of gold, usually around 20 to 100 depending on the quest. You get new Quests every day, but only three quests can be active at a time. Each quest has a unique objective, from playing a set amount of cards from a particular class to playing with a friend. It’s also a great way to play classes that you might not be familiar with. Or, alternatively, quests that require you to play cards from a different class can help you understand your opponents better, thus improving your game next time you go up against them. It can be a grind, but completing Daily Quests is the most consistent way of earning gold.

As mentioned, three wins earn you 10 gold. This applies to most game modes, but Tavern Brawl is the most fun way for me to earn that tenner. Tavern Brawl is a weekly event that has different game rules, cards, and other gimmicks every week. It’s a good way to blow off some steam after a series of defeats in ranked (I know the feeling, bruh) or if you just want something a little different. Your first win in a Tavern Brawl will also reward you with a card pack, either a classic pack or one of the expansions. For beginners, this is a great way to establish and expand your deck, particularly the classic cards.

Arena is a particularly challenging game mode. It can be fun, especially as a beginner, since you’re drafting a deck from a random assortment of cards which may or may not already be in your permanent collection. However, entering the Arena takes gold, and unless you can count on getting a certain number of wins before hitting three losses, you’re likely better off investing your gold directly in card packs.

But The Most Important Piece of Advice…

Just have fun and try not to take it too seriously! Hearthstone is very good at bringing out the competitive spirit in all of us, and there various players and streamers who have meltdowns every time RNG doesn’t favor. I mean, of course I understand the frustration, but never forget why you’re playing the game in the first place!

So that’s it, I hope you enjoyed this Hearthstone Beginners Guide! If you have any questions, drop a comment and let’s discuss it!

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